Librarian (Reference) – Smithsonian Institution – Washington, DC


About the Agency

The incumbent serves as a Librarian (Reference Librarian) in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) Library, Smithsonian Libraries (SIL), Smithsonian Institution (SI) in Washington, DC. The purpose of this position is to provide reference, instruction, and research assistance to curatorial, research, exhibits, and education staff in support of their programs, and to independent researchers using the Library. The Reference Librarian will also perform other functions such as collection development, circulation, and preservation activities as needed. The work requires knowledge of one or more subject-matter specializations in the area of African American history and culture and the African Diaspora.


  • Provides comprehensive reference and research services in the specialized disciplines and varied fields in African American history and culture and the African Diaspora, that are of interest to the NMAAHC staff.
  • Assists in maintaining the physical integrity of the library with collection maintenance, inventory, digitization planning, de-accessioning, conservation, and general collections care.
  • Assists with the collection development activities of the library, helping to identify, select, obtain, organize, and maintain library collections and resources focusing on the subject areas of African American history and culture.
  • Assists with outreach efforts that promote collections and services through tours, exhibits, programming, publications, social media, and other electronic means.

Supervisory Status


Promotion Potential


Travel Required

  • Occasional Travel
  • Some travel to other SIL libraries and related collections in the greater Washington area, including Anacostia, Suitland and Landover, MD, may be required; evening and weekend work may also be required.

Relocation Authorized

  • No

Key Requirements

  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.


Experience: You qualify for this position if you possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-7 level in the Federal Service or comparable pay band system.

For this position Specialized Experience is defined as experience providing reference and research support for library users, developing and maintaining collection development, and coordinating outreach activities and special projects that promote the use of the library.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

Or Education: Two full years of progressively higher level graduate education or master’s in library science or equivalent graduate degree, e.g., LL.B. or J.D., related to the position.

Or a Combination: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications. For a full explanation of this option please see the Qualification Standards. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: If you are qualifying by education and/or you have education completed in a foreign college/university described above, it is your responsibility to provide transcripts and proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. For instructions on where to fax these documents, see the “Required Documents” section of this announcement.

Selective Factor Requirement: You must have experience in a library providing reference service or research assistance on topics in African American history and culture.

Basic Requirements:

All librarians must meet the requirements for professional education in library science or possess equivalent experience and education as shown for GS-7; however, as a standard practice applicants enter at grade GS-9 on the basis of a master’s degree in library science.

Since many libraries are highly specialized, some librarian positions require a knowledge of a specialized subject or field of endeavor. These requirements are in addition to the basic professional library science requirements that apply to all positions. However, these requirements may be included in or supplemental to those specified for all positions. The following specializations are authorized: biological, medical, social or physical sciences, education, fine arts, business and industry, humanities, law, music, engineering, and the Germanic, Slavic, Oriental, Semitic, or Romance languages.

Qualification requirements, including one year time-in-grade at the next lower grade level for promotion candidates, must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.

Security Clearance

Public Trust – Background Investigation

To Apply:

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